This just in
This just in as reported by the BBC…
“There will be no movement in or out of these areas, or within them, unless for proven work-related reasons, emergencies, or health reasons.” – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
Northern Italy has quarantined 16 million people. Weddings and funerals have been suspended, as well as religious and cultural events. Cinemas, nightclubs, gyms, swimming pools, museums and ski resorts have been closed. Restaurants and cafes in the quarantined zones can open between 06:00 and 18:00 but customers must sit at least 1m apart. People have been told to stay at home as much as possible and those who break the quarantine could face three months in jail.
It sounds like a Hollywood movie script, and yet, it is all too real. Thus far, the coronavirus risk to Canadians is very low, and I am immensely grateful for that. But what if that were to change? How would we as Christians respond? How would I personally respond?
One report I read from Wuhan, China, referred to Christians out in the streets distributing gospel leaflets and face masks together. In the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, Christian relief agencies and medical personnel were at the forefront of the response. Early in the church’s history (around 250AD) Christians in the Roman empire reached out to and cared for the sick and dying during a widespread disease outbreak.
What would loving your neighbour as yourself call for in this moment? While the answer may not be clear, may I offer these five questions for reflection.
- What would it mean to make oneself available to others, rather than shutting oneself off from others?
- What would it mean to make Christian churches, homes, or businesses places of refuge in a crisis?
- What would it mean to give sacrificially and joyfully to reduce or eliminate the suffering of others?
- What would it mean to grow in our understanding that all human beings are created in the image of God?
- What would it mean to live with a deep trust in God, giving all our fears and worries to him?
Take a moment to think about the answers to those questions, and while you do, would you pray for those affected, and for those making national and even trans-national healthcare decisions?